BARPETA, Jan 18 � Although there is apprehension in some respects and even the World Heritage Committee has warned of enlisting it as a World Heritage in Danger, the ongoing activities in the world famous Manas National Park-cum-Tiger Project clearly indicate that the Park authorities are determined to protect its World Heritage status.
The World Heritage Committee under the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisations (UNESCO), in its meeting last year, had expressed concern over the condition of the Manas National Park and warned the authorities of reviewing its World Heritage status. The unabeted encroachment in the core areas of the Park and poaching of wildlife compelled the world body to issue this warning. It had asked the Park authorities to take some steps so that the world body does not have to take the hard decision.
But nature lovers in particular and the people of the country in general can take solace in the fact that the Park authorities as well as the related departments have taken the World Heritage Committee report very seriously and have undertaken several measures to comply with the requirements sought by the world body.
It is learnt that the World Heritage Committee had insisted upon extension of the core area by 350 square kilometres. The proposal to this effect has been approved by now by the State Wildlife Board. However, government notification is being awaited and once it is notified, the core area of the Park will be enhanced to 850 sq km from the existing 500 sq km.
The Heritage Committee also set the condition of translocating swamp deer to the Park, and it has been fulfilled by translocating as many as 19 of this species from the Kaziranga National Park last month.
Protection of the Park and the encroachment on it were two other main concerns raised by the world body. Now, according to informed sources, security in and around the Park has been increased and there is least scope of poachers entering the Park or of extremists taking shelter in it. The district administration and the Army have also become active in providing security to the Park. The Park now has a sufficient number of security personnel to keep vigil round the clock. The authorities has undertaken number of measures to free the Park from the clutches of encroachment and check it in the future.
�We have decided to erect solar fencing along the southern border along with a deep ditch so that no encroachment can take place in future,� a Park official told this correspondent adding that the demarcation of boundaries for this purpose has been completed. However, he admitted that eviction of a few people who have built dwelling houses may take some time as it will require a lot of formalities.
All these positive developments have been intimated to the WHC by the Park authorities in the form of a report. The report will come up for discussion in the meeting of the UNESCO body this year. It is highly expected that the WHC will be satisfied with the steps taken by the authorities to fulfil the requirements and keep the Park�s World Heritage status intact.